UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage – Preview & Live Event Coverage
Last Updated on Saturday, 24 September 2011 05:04
Written by PunchDrunkGamer
Thursday, 22 September 2011 09:10
UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage – Preview & Live Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
This weekend the UFC returns to Colorado with a strong pay-per-view offering. Set to take place at the Pepsi Center in Denver, UFC 135 will feature the first title defense of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones against former UFC champion and PRIDE superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. In the co-main event is a strong welterweight pairing between former UFC champion and legend Matt Hughes and The Ultimate Fighter’s Josh Koscheck.
The main card will also feature a promising heavyweight battle between Travis Browne and Rob Broughton. In PDG’s Match-Up of the Night, The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz will face former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi. The main card is rounded out by former IFL stand-out Ben Rothwell and former K-1 champion Mark Hunt.
The preliminary card will feature two bouts on Spike TV and three on the UFC’s official Facebook page. The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner Tony Ferguson will make his first appearance since winning the reality show on the Spike TV broadcast against long-time veteran Aaron Riley. The other Spike TV card will feature Nick Ring against Tim Boetsch in a middleweight contest.
On the Facebook broadcast we will be treated to a bantamweight showdown between Japan’s Takeya Mizugaki and Cole Escovedo. Former TPF champion Eddie Yagin will make his UFC debut against Junior Assuncao, while the night’s opening bout will see light heavyweight action between James Te Huna and PunchDrunkGamer’s Ricardo Romero.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
In the main event UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (13-1) will make his first title defense against former UFC light heavyweight champion and PRIDE superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8).
Jones, who holds a UFC record of 7-1, has continued to look impressive in each new appearance. Currently training under Greg Jackson, Jones made his UFC debut with a perfect 6-0 record, finishing each opponent. Jones is currently riding a four-fight win streak after losing by disqualification against Matt Hamill in 2009.
In the bout with Hamill, Jones was fast approaching a one-sided TKO stoppage before illegal elbow strikes from mount cost him the win. Following the disqualification Jones faced Brandon Vera, stopping the former heavyweight with elbows from inside his opponent’s guard. Jones then earned a first round TKO stoppage against Vladimir Matyushenko before being paired up against previously undefeated TUF winner Ryan Bader. Jones secured an impressive second round guillotine choke submission and was granted a title shot against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. In his title shot Jones swarmed and overwhelmed the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix champion, scoring an impressive third round TKO.
Jackson enters this weekend’s championship bout on a two-fight win streak over Matt Hamill and former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. “Rampage” holds a UFC record of 7-2 and once held the promotion’s light heavyweight title.
“Rampage”, who also holds an impressive PRIDE record of 12-5, stopped Marvin Eastman in his UFC debut. He followed up with a knockout over former UFC champion Chuck Liddell in a rematch to earn the UFC light heavyweight crown, which he successfully defended once against former two-divisional PRIDE champion Dan Henderson. “Rampage” lost his title to The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Forrest Griffin, but pieced together a knockout and decision over Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine respectively. Jackson holds notable career wins over Matt Lindland, Ricardo Arona, Murilo Bustamante, and Igor Vovchanchyn.
In the co-main event former UFC welterweight champion and mixed martial arts legend Matt Hughes (45-8) takes on The Ultimate Fighter 1 alum and one-time UFC contender Josh Koscheck (15-5). Originally Hughes was set to face The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Diego Sanchez, but an injury saw Sanchez exit and AKA’s Koscheck step in.
Hughes holds an outstanding 17-6 record in the UFC. Once considered the greatest welterweight in MMA history, Hughes enters this Saturday’s bout coming off a knockout loss to former UFC champion B.J. Penn in a rubber match, ending one of the greatest rivalries in the sport. Hughes entered the bout with Penn on a three-fight win streak over former UFC champion Matt Serra, legendary Renzo Gracie, and Ricardo Almeida. Hughes has beaten a who’s who of mixed martial artists including Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, Frank Trigg (2), B.J. Penn, Georges St. Pierre, Sean Sherk, Carlos Newton (2), Chris Lytle, Akihiro Gono, and Joe Doerksen.
Koscheck joined the first season of The Ultimate Fighter simply as a wrestler with a 2-0 record, but has since pieced together a 13-5 record inside the UFC. Koscheck enters the bout coming off a loss in a championship rematch against Georges St. Pierre, but like Hughes had previously been on a three-fight win streak against Frank Trigg, Anthony Johnson, and Paul Daley. “Kos”, who trains at American Kickboxing academy alongside Jon Fitch, Cain Velasquez, and Mike Swick, owns notable career victories over Chris Lytle, Yoshiyuki Yoshida, Diego Sanchez, Dustin Hazelett, and Jeff Joslin.
PDG’s Match-Up of the Night
In PDG’s Match-Up of the Night, The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz (13-7) takes on former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi (32-7). On top of an intriguing style match-up, Saturday’s bout also holds extra significance because Diaz’s brother Nick previously fought Gomi in PRIDE, winning with a gogoplata submission, but later having the bout ruled a no contest after a failed drug test.
Diaz enters this weekend’s bout with an 8-5 UFC record and riding a two-fight losing streak. After a pair of wins at welterweight against Rory Markham and Marcus Davis, Diaz most recently lost decisions to Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald, precipitating a return to the lightweight division. The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner holds nine of his thirteen career victories by submission and owns notable wins over Melvin Guillard, Josh Neer, Kurt Pellegrino, Manny Gamburyan, and Joe Hurley.
Gomi also looks to try to return to his winning ways after losing his most recent performance by submission to Clay Guida. The former PRIDE champion holds a UFC record of 1-2, having lost his promotional debut by submission to Kenny Florian before knocking out Tyson Griffin. Gomi compiled an impressive 13-1 (with one no contest) record in PRIDE, including knockout or submission stoppages against Hayato Sakurai, Jens Pulver, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Luiz Azeredo.
Additional Thoughts – Main Card
*In one of two exciting heavyweight bouts on this weekend’s card undefeated Travis Browne (11-0-1) takes on former Cage Rage British heavyweight champion Rob Broughton (15-5-1). Browne enters the bout coming off a first round knockout against prospect Stefan Struve at UFC 130. Browne, who holds a UFC record of 2-0-1, won his promotional debut by TKO over James McSweeney. Prior to his knockout over Struve, Browne fought Cheick Kongo to a draw after the Frenchman was deducted a point in the third round for repeated grabbing of Browne’s shorts. Broughton steps into his second UFC appearance riding a five-fight win streak. Entering the UFC with notable wins over James Thompson, Neil Grove, Neil Wain, and Yusuke Kawaguchi, Broughton won his promotional debut with a third round rear naked choke over Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz.
*The main card is set to kick off with an exciting heavyweight bout between former IFL stand-out Ben Rothwell (31-7) and former K-1 champion and PRIDE veteran Mark Hunt (6-7). Rothwell lost his UFC debut against current UFC champion Cain Velasquez, but won his most recent appearance against Gilbert Yvel at UFC 115. “Big Ben” made a name for himself in the now-defunct IFL where he compiled a perfect 9-0 record including wins over former IFL champion and The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson, former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez, and TUF alum Krzysztof Soszynski (twice). Mixed martial arts fans were surprised when Mark Hunt made his way into the UFC until it was later explained that Zuffa owed him bouts due to a contract acquired through the purchase of PRIDE. Despite a losing record in mixed martial arts, the former K-1 champion enters this Saturday’s bout riding an impressive knockout over Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 127, snapping a six-fight losing streak. Hunt, who made a name for himself in mixed martial arts in PRIDE, owns notable career victories over Wanderlei Silva, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka.
Additional Thoughts – Spike TV
*In the first bout to air on Spike TV this weekend undefeated TUF 11 alum Nick Ring (12-0) takes on Tim Boetsch (13-4). Ring is 2-0 in his UFC career, winning his promotional debut in a controversial decision over Riki Fukuda before most recently submitting James Head with a rear naked choke at UFC 131. Ring holds notable career victories over Isidro Gonzalez, Bill Mahood, and Ryuichi Murata. Boetsch enters the bout with a UFC record of 4-3, most recently edging out The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Kendall Grove in a decision. Boetsch, who has won five of his last six bouts, holds notable career victories over David Heath and Aaron Stark.
*The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner Tony Ferguson (11-2) makes his first appearance since winning the reality show against Aaron Riley (30-12-1) on the Spike TV broadcast. Ferguson knocked out Ramsey Nijem to win the thirteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, extending his current win streak to four. “El Cucuy” holds notable career victories over Brock Jardine and “Hello Japan” David Gardner. Riley has been a long-time veteran of the sport with appearances in the IFL, Shooto USA, Bodog, PRIDE, and HOOKnSHOOT. With a UFC record of 3-4, Riley enters this weekend’s bout coming off a win over Joe Brammer at UFC 114. Riley holds notable career wins over Michihiro Omigawa, Jorge Gurgel, and Alexandre Barros.
Additional Thoughts – Facebook
*In the opening bout of the night James Te Huna (12-5) meets Ricardo Romero (11-2) in a light heavyweight showdown. Te Huna is 1-1 in his UFC career, stopping Igor Pokrajac with strikes in his promotional debut but losing his most recent appearance by submission to Alexander Gustafsson. Te Huna owns notable career wins over Edwin Aguilar and Anthony Perosh. Romero is also 1-1 in his UFC career after fighting the rest of his career in ROC. Romero won his UFC debut by submission over Seth Petruzelli, but most recently lost in twenty-one seconds by TKO to Kyle Kingsbury.
*In the most underrated bout on the card Japan’s Takeya Mizugaki (14-6-2) meets Cole Escovedo (17-7) in a bantamweight contest to air on the UFC’s official Facebook page. Mizugaki established himself as a top ten bantamweight in Japan before joining the WEC in 2009 to challenge former champion Miguel Torres. Despite losing Mizugaki compiled a 2-3 record in the promotion. Since the merger with the UFC he has gone 1-1, winning his debut over Reuben Duran but most recently losing to former WEC champion Brian Bowles. Escovedo was the first ever WEC featherweight champion, but is best known for his semi-retirement from the sport in 2007 after a severe staph infection left him partially paralyzed. “The Apache Kid” has made a great recovery however and enters his second UFC appearance coming off a loss against highly-touted prospect Renan “Barao” do Nascimento. Escovedo owns notable career victories over Jeff Bedard, Yoshiro Maeda, Michael McDonald, and Bart Palaszewski.
*In a featherweight bout Junior Assuncao (12-4) returns to the UFC to take on former TPF champion Eddie Yagin (15-4-1). Assuncao enters this weekend’s bout on a six-fight win streak and with seven wins in his last eight appearances. Assuncao previously had a rough run in the UFC where he went 1-2, losing to Kurt Pellegrino, submitting David Lee, and then losing to The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz. Yagin enters his UFC debut riding a two-fight win streak over Joe Neri and Joe Soto. Yagin has also won seven of his last eight bouts and holds notable career wins over Charlie Pearson, Shawn Bias, and Casey Olson.
UFC 135 Fight Card
Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson (UFC Light Heavyweight Championship)
Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck
Travis Browne vs. Rob Broughton
Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Ben Rothwell vs. Mark Hunt
Preliminary Card (Spike TV):
Tony Ferguson vs. Aaron Riley
Nick Ring vs. Tim Boetsch
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Junior Assuncao vs. Eddie Yagin
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Cole Escovedo
James Te Huna vs. Ricardo Romero